Aaron Judge settles in left field, Gerrit Cole slows down in his last spring start

Aaron Judge and Gerrit Cole are seen during the Yankees 2023 spring training.
Michael Bennington
Saturday March 25, 2023

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TAMPA, Fl. — Whether he is in left field or right field, Aaron Judge seems to be at his best. In the game against the Twins on Friday, the Yankees captain took to the left-field position for the fourth time this spring. It was markedly different from his last three left-fields starts and fans were able to see some best actions from Aaron Judge. This included a quick throw by Aaron Judge to get rid of Twins’ Edouard Julien as he made an effort to steal a double.

He ran to get the ball once it hit the left-field wall and threw it to the second base. It seems that he is the right solution for the Yankees left-field problem and start the regular season at Yankee Stadium on March 30. This will allow Giancarlo Stanton to play in right.

Aaron Judge also fielded and handled a variety of fly balls well.

“Those are classic tester left field balls,” Boone said. “The slicer over towards the line, the slicer back in the gap, obviously a great throw. Good to see him have some balls unique to left field. Thought he looked really comfortable.”

Charles Wenzelberg / NYP

Captain Aaron Judge can rely on ace Gerrit Cole

Gerrit Cole‘s fifth and last Grapefruit League game was on Friday. He felt good and ready for the regular season after the game Opening Day in The Bronx.

Gerrit Cole pitched 5 2/3 innings against the Twins with only one run scored. He threw 84 pitches without walking anyone and struck out three batters in his last spring training game. However, Gerrit Cole’s average fastball speed was 96.4 miles per hour, which was down a tick from earlier in the spring.

But neither the Yankees ace nor manager Aaron Boone was worried.

“I saw a lot of 94-95, but I saw some sevens and eights, too,” Boone said. “I think he was wanting to do some different things, wanting to get his changeup involved a little bit more today, do some things from a sequencing standpoint. I thought it was a good day for him of things he wanted to accomplish heading into Opening Day.”

Gerrit Cole made five starts this spring. In 21 2/3 innings, he struck out 27 batters and walked only one. His ERA was 3.32. Jimmy Cordero took over for Cole and pitched 1 2/3 innings without allowing any runs. He also struck out three batters, which helped his case, even more, to be on the Opening Day roster. His spot looks almost certain.

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